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Multiple statewide elected officials planning youth-related programs that they hope could slow brain drain

Published: Mar. 18, 2022 at 8:34 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - You’ve probably heard the term brain drain. But now, some of the state’s elected officials are trying to combat the problem.

We asked if there were any conversations about them and none had talked to the others. Still, they were glad that other offices were looking at ways to think outside the box.

State Auditor Shad White has been speaking with various groups about brain drain for years. But his “Stay in the Sip” program’s starting point: recognition of the need.

“We have to do this for survival,” said White. “You know, in the Auditor’s Office, we have to recruit talented young auditors to survive as an office to keep doing the work that we’re required to do often by the federal or state government.”

The program offers to pay the remaining tuition for accounting students (who’ve completed at least 58 hours) and agree to, in exchange, work in the Auditor’s Office for two years post-graduation.

“We’ve got to put some ideas on the table, policy ideas. Private sectors got to get creative about recruiting young, talented people,” added White. “But in addition to that, we really have to go out and sell the state of Mississippi to young people here in the state. I think that’s not happening enough.”

Details on the “Stay in the ‘Sip” program and application can be found HERE.

Over at the Department of Agriculture and Commerce, they’re taking applications for the second year of the Mississippi Agriculture Youth Council.

“We’re trying to find the young people who are passionate about Mississippi agriculture, about keeping our great Ag industry strong and stay in here in the state,” explained Ag Commissioner Andy Gipson. “We want to get them exposed to all the different opportunities that they have in agriculture careers in Mississippi and there’s a whole lot out there.”

Gipson notes the average age of a Mississippi farmer is 60. So, he hopes to expand on the idea of the youth council.

“My vision is to develop a full-blown Mississippi agriculture workforce development program,” said Gipson. “You know, we talked a lot about workforce in this state. There hasn’t been a lot of focus on our number one industry, and that is agriculture.”

The application and qualifications for the Mississippi Agriculture Youth Council can be found HERE.

And the most recent announcement coming from the Secretary of State’s office and their student ambassador program.

“Conversations with some young leaders, some young, bright leaders and wondering, You know, how do we include them? How do we get them engaged? We’re just like, we’re Mississippians. I want a better state, continue to move forward. And it’s a great place to be. But we can do even better things here. And that’s what we want to try to do with this program.”

Learn about the Mississippi Secretary of State Student Ambassador Program HERE.

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